TV changed the world. It changed family life and eating habits. Hell, they even produced instant meals so that people can spend more time in front of the TV. And now, decades later, we are offered visual stimulation in 3D and high definition. We live in a world where if you don’t have a screen that can take over a whole wall, you’re a bit of a loser. And then there are things you can add to that, like a Wii (my god, who thought of that name?) and a PS2 which can connect to the internet and everything. I think…
The truth is: TV puts me to sleep. 10 minutes in front of the box and it’s lights out for Lee. However, now and then a series will grab me and I’ll manage to see it out. And then, since downloads and trading data is the new black, I marathon the series. And there are a few good ones out there.
Ask anyone I know and they will say, yes, Lee likes the X-Files. A lot. I have every single one of the 201 episodes, and I have watched them all at least twice, some episodes more than that. I did the math, 201 episodes of The X-Files is equal to just over two weeks of viewing, no breaks, no sleep. So I have spent at least four months of my life in sci-fi ecstasy.
But this is about sitcoms. I can write about Mulder-face and Scully’s running ability some other time. The X-Files is without a doubt the holy grail of television.
One of the biggest hits at the moment is a series called ‘How I Met Your Mother’. And it’s actually a little funny, but there are a few concerns.
Firstly, TV is where the modern individual identifies a role model. And the hero is Ted.
Ted wants to get married. And that is all there really is to Ted. The series kicks off with him telling his friends the story about how he met their mother. But to get there he needs to tell them about every single woman he dated and slept with.
As a daughter, I’ll be honest; I don’t really care about who my parents shagged before each other. And then they didn’t actually shag each other anyway. I was conceived by osmosis or some other scientific manoeuvre. They didn’t touch each other, and that’s a fact.
Why is he telling them this stuff? You want the honest answer? Well, it’s to make the production and distribution company millions. His kids really don’t care one tiny bit.
So Ted is annoying and is breaking down many of the traditional stereotypes women and men once believed about men. All this guy wants is to fall in love and get married, and as any regular reader knows, that’s what men want these days. So just like that ‘How I Met Your Mother’ has changed the world. That, and the cheesy life lessons the viewer gets from each episode. And I no longer know how to categorize men because my original beliefs have been destroyed.
But it has moments of funny. If it weren’t for the Cock-a-Mouse episode I would have tuned out before the first season was done. Ted really pisses me off! And Marshal and Lily, are you kidding me? Robin is mediocre, but I do like Barney. I would love a night out with him – laser tag, cigar lounge? Yes, please. But thank god I’m not in that series, because the writers would make me sleep with him and wake up heart broken and feeling used, because all his hook-ups feel that way.
Next up is ‘Scrubs’. The only reason I can tolerate this show is because Dr Cox is seven different types of sexy and Janitor makes my day. The rest of the characters are annoying after season one. It’s as if the writers ran out of ideas. They even sap Dr Cox of his essence! How could they and what’s the point?
Again, cheesy life lessons are imparted. The same ones I learnt in ‘Will & Grace’ ten years ago and the same ones are repeated in ‘How I Met Your Mother’. Seriously? If I’m going to watch TV, I don’t want to learn anything (unless it’s on Top Gear), so back off already! Just make me laugh, damnit!
I am one of the few who missed out on the whole ‘Friends’ cult movement. I have never made it through an entire episode. I find each and every character irritating to the point where I would rather listen to rave music. And this makes me unpopular and I have to go sit in a corner at parties when this show comes up in conversation.
I’ve probably missed a few here – but I’m still holding a torch for those sitcoms from my early teenage years – ‘The Nanny’, ‘Major Dad’ and a few others, it was years ago. And I do appreciate those old school classics like ‘The Golden Girls’ and ‘Who’s the Boss’.
So what happened? Where did the humour-that-never-grows-old go? Why do I have to entertain myself watching people pursue romance and nothing else? Cartoon comedy is in a league of its own and has no place here… But why can’t some media giant produce a comedy that is timelessly funny, with characters worthy of crushing on that don’t sell out and become heaps of steaming, melted cheese?
When I watch a sitcom I at least want to want to have their life. I don’t want to laugh because the humour is so obvious it punches you in the face. I want to follow a sitcom because I can relate to the characters, or I at least find them endearing in some way. I am bored with watching a show and hoping for something to happen; I want TV to guarantee something will happen. And I want my comedy to be intelligent. And having said that, I think I’ve satisfied myself… It’s probably not going to happen.